A cannon fired eco-confetti to mark the moment The Duchess of Cornwall christens Spirit of Discovery (Image: Saga)
Saga’s first purpose-built boutique cruise ship was christened as Spirit of Discovery by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall on 5 July at the Port of Dover in Kent, UK.
Prior to the naming ceremony, The Duchess of Cornwall toured Spirit of Discovery, which features boutique British-style interiors designed by UK-based company SMC Design. She met captain Julian Burgess and crew on the bridge, entertainers in the theatre and English pianist, bandleader, singer, composer and TV presenter Jools Holland OBE in ‘The Club by Jools’. Also on display during the tour were some of the ship’s 400 original artworks, which were created by UK-based artists and artisans, including Peter Layton who crafted a glass sculpture inspired by the Royal Gardens at Highgrove, the private residence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
Following the tour, The Duchess of Cornwall cut a two-metre-long cake replica of Spirit of Discovery, which was designed, baked and decorated by Mark Tilling, an award-winning chocolatier and winner of ‘Bake Off Crème de la Crème’.
The christening ceremony featured performances by the Morriston Orpheus Choir and The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Collingwood, as well as a blessing by The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover. In keeping with maritime tradition, The Duchess of Cornwall also blessed the ship and triggered a jeroboam of the specially blended Hush Heath English sparkling wine to smash against her hull to bring good luck to all who sail on her. It marked the first time that a cruise ship has been named at the Port of Dover for over a decade.
In honour of the ship’s royal godmother, Saga also organised what is believed to be the first traditional garden party-style christening ceremony on a quayside. The British cruise line invited more than 500 guests to enjoy afternoon tea while surrounded by bunting, foliage, flowers, trees and tables with parasols on grass grown in Yorkshire.
“We started this journey to build something special some three and a half years ago, and today, we are honoured to be joined by our godmother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall,” said Robin Shaw, CEO of Saga Travel. “We firmly believe that Spirit of Discovery creates a new British quality standard in the cruising market, and we can’t wait to welcome guests onboard.”
Spirit of Discovery, which is the only ship built and delivered exclusively for the British market this year, will embark on her inaugural cruise – named ‘A British First’ – from Dover on 10 July and visit ports around the British Isles. The vessel will be joined in service by her sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, in 2020. Both vessels will fly the Red Ensign to signify that London is their port of registry.
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